Nov. 26, 2010
ANCHORAGE, Alaska - St. John's used a tournament-record defensive effort and Dwight Hardy took home player of the game honors with an 11-point night as the Red Storm routed Drake, 82-39, in the semifinals of the Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout. St. John's, which held the Bulldogs to just 26.5 percent (13-for-49) shooting, allowed fewer than 40 points in a game for the first time since a 63-39 win against Columbia on Dec. 27, 2005.
"I think our aggressive style of play made the difference," said St. John's head coach Steve Lavin. "We were aggressive defensively in our full-court press and we were aggressive in our half-court zone defense. I think we were aggressive in our initial surge, in transition and on the boards. We were relentless and our pressure really got to them."
Hardy, who was 4-for-7 from the floor, also added four rebounds, two assists, and one steal to help pace St. John's (3-1). He did all of his scoring in the first half of play.
"Tonight was a breakthrough game for Dwight Hardy, he really broke loose," said Lavin. "That's a sign of things to come for him."
Justin Brownlee scored a game-high 13 points to lead the squad in scoring for the second-straight game, while Sean Evans added a season-best 10 points to help the Red Storm advance to its first Shootout title game.
Aaron Hawley and Rayvonte Rice had 10 points apiece to lead Drake (2-2), but the pair could not help the Bulldogs avoid setting the record for fewest points scored in the 33-year history of the Shootout. The previous record occurred in 1984 when Illinois defeated Idaho State, 64-44.
Drake trailed just 22-17 midway through the first half, but the Red Storm proceeded to blitz the Bulldogs with 23-straight points to finish the stanza. St. John's, in fact, did not allow another Drake field goal until the 17:05 mark of the second half.
D.J. Kennedy and Justin Burrell each grabbed a game-high eight rebounds and Malik Boothe added eight points and six assists for St. John's, which shot a season-best 57.7 percent (30-for-52) from the floor.
St. John's advances to the title game and will play the ASU-WSU winner on Nov. 28 at midnight.